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What's your biggest training problem?

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  • What's your biggest training problem?

    If you could pick one thing that you'd like help solving, what would it be?
    jane savoie
    dressage mentor

  • #2
    I just cannot seem to get the timing and rhythm of the one's. My horse is only a few steps ahead of me learning them. I can get a few in a row then I start moving too much and it throws him off. He is really good natured about it.

    I don't have the opportunity to practice on a school master.

    Are there any 'off horse' physical or mental exercises that can help?



    • Original Poster

      1. To stop moving your body, look up and keep both hips pointed squarely ahead like headlights on a car.
      2. Don't bring your new outside leg too far back. You won't have enough time to switch legs. To compensate for bringing a leg too far back, pretend you're going to use the new outside leg on the girth. You'll probably still move it a bit but not so much you get out of sync.
      3. Maybe your horse is getting too long and by the 6th or 7th change, he's too long. Do 3 or 4 ones, then collect as if you're going int o a pirouette...Then go forward and ask for 3 or 4 more.
      4. Make sure you close each new outside hand in a fist as you ask for the change. That "sticks" the new outside hind and helps keep your horse from getting too long. The feeling is like "milking a cow"

      You can practice these aids off your horse.
      Good luck!
      jane savoie
      dressage mentor


      • #4
        A nine year old driving horse, built like a tank (Frankie the Tankie) who does not understand how to move forward to contact. He will move without contact, and will almost stop with it. Inside leg to outside rein is like speaking Chinese to him. Longes in sidereins ok, little flexion, does not understand bend. Work in hand is beginning, does nice turn on the forehand, with little contact.


        • #5
          Stop using my hands to slow him down!! I am getting a teeeny weeny bit better in the ring at the trot, but with my horse being a forward thinker, I am so apprehensive to take him out where I know he will want to go. My instinct is to grab.


          • #6
            The Walk...

            I have a PB Arab mare for endurance but we do dressage for cross training. She has a good foundation, knows her aids, is prompt, has a beautiful trot and canter BUT -- the walk!?? She is sooo sluggish! I've never had that problem on any of the lesson horses I rode before and it's making me really impatient...
            I know from riding out on the trails how well she can step it up but in the arena I can't get a nice forward walk out of her. I use my whip to enforce what I'm asking, she perks up, does three nice steps, then back to sluggish... As soon as we pick up the trot everything is great again, she listens and does anything I ask. Any tips?
            Thank you!


            • #7
              Balance! My horse is super athletic and on the days when everything *clicks* (aka I pull my head out of my rear and start RIDING!) he really engages, is super light up front, and can collect enough in the canter to do 5 meter canter circles. However, he's a downhill OTTB, and a lot of the time I feel like we're riding literally INTO the arena dirt - and then the canter we get from that is horrid; bolty and bucky and just totally off-kilter. I know it's a rider issue, but I'd like to be able to more consistently overcome it, and I'm sure my horse would like me to, as well


              • #8
                MY position . I'm just a vet check away from my new horse(!) and looking at some of the pictures my husband took of me riding him.....oh, my. As Ruth said first off during my Rocky lesson, I'm stronger on my left side and the right side just seems to collapse - mostly from my hip down so I raise and "scrunch" up my right leg and kind of clutch with it. Bad, very bad.

                I may have to spring for the PYP program!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jane Savoie View Post
                  1. To stop moving your body, look up and keep both hips pointed squarely ahead like headlights on a car.
                  2. Don't bring your new outside leg too far back. You won't have enough time to switch legs. To compensate for bringing a leg too far back, pretend you're going to use the new outside leg on the girth. You'll probably still move it a bit but not so much you get out of sync.
                  3. Maybe your horse is getting too long and by the 6th or 7th change, he's too long. Do 3 or 4 ones, then collect as if you're going int o a pirouette...Then go forward and ask for 3 or 4 more.
                  4. Make sure you close each new outside hand in a fist as you ask for the change. That "sticks" the new outside hind and helps keep your horse from getting too long. The feeling is like "milking a cow"

                  You can practice these aids off your horse.
                  Good luck!
                  Thank you so much.


                  • #10
                    Well, that my horse is lame

                    More seriously, I am getting balanced seat (not dressage) lessons on a Haflinger gelding who has the hardest mouth I have ever encountered. He is ridden mostly by lesson kids so he's pretty tuned out. He definitely responds to "forward" requests as he's not a lazy horse. Given that I will likely be riding him weekly for the next couple of months, what approach can I use to get and keep his focus?
                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                    • #11
                      Working with a horse whose contact is too light. Not reaching forward enough into the bridle.
                      Friesians Rule !!


                      • Original Poster

                        So contact seems to be a big issue for a lot of people (too strong, light etc)??

                        Then I see issues with the lazy horse and horse who likes to go!

                        I personally get a lot of questions about the canter (balance, departs, wrong lead etc) and Connection.

                        Just wondering if I'm missing a whole segment of "problems" because I seem to get the same questions for the most part.

                        BTW, this is not "my" thread...Everyone please feel free to chime in with solutions! It'll make for a great training thread.
                        jane savoie
                        dressage mentor


                        • #13
                          OHMIGOSH!!! Really this is THE Jane Savoie?!!

                          I'm a huge fan. *thud*

                          I'm coming back from an accident that left me with 6 inches of hardware on each side of my spine. I broke my T-9 and 10 vertebra. After 7 weeks in the hospital, it took me a very long time to be able to ride without pain.

                          My goals in my life are to be able to compete in just one 3 day event. (yes, just one and I will be happy) It's been a lifelong dream of mine.

                          Sitting the trot has been bad for me, but I'm getting a lot better. I have had to loosen up my hips, and work really hard on relaxing my lower back. I come off the horse barely able to walk upright, but it can be done.

                          I'm just curious if a lot of riders that have had past injuries that limit flexibility and motion make it very far? (I'm very driven, and motivated sometimes beyond my capability)

                          My mare is very forgiving, and a bit protective. She can sense a spasm before I can and will just stop. Bless her little heart. She also gets pretty sore on her left side, and I wonder if this is because I'm weak on my right? She also wont pick up the canter right away either, and wonder if it's because I'm not compressing her up into the bridle enough? She will do transitions within the gaits well, reinbacks, and halts with just a slight squeezing of my buns up into the bridle. People ask me all the time if I'm aiding her, or if she is anticipating. (yes, I have her super light)

                          Do you have any suggestions for this issue?
                          Originally posted by dizzywriter
                          My saddle fits perfectly well. It might be a little tight around the waist, but I take care of that with those spandex things.


                          • #14
                            Riding corners like a pro to improve balance and set up for the next movement....which is particularly hard for me at the moment as the corners in our arena are rounded!


                            • #15
                              I would say contact is definitely a big issue for me. I let the reins slip through my finger and my body thinks long reins = light contact = good, which my brain knows is not correct, but it is hard to fix. My horse was balky as a youngster, so I did very, very little walk work on contact as that would get him stuck. Now, going back and learning to push him into a solid contact is challenging both of us - in a good way.

                              The other thing I have trouble with is keeping the engagement and forward in lateral work. My coach has really been pushing me on this the last two months and we've made great progress in the shoulder-in and renvers. Funny when I put my horse in shoulder-in and instead of dying, he takes off! Next we'll be tackling staying forward in the trot half-pass.


                              • #16
                                I REALLY struggle with knowing whether or not my contact is too heavy, too light or just right. I always think too light is right.

                                I struggle with second-guessing what I think I'm feeling, so sometimes I react a little later than would be ideal.

                                I am having canter-sitting issues. My sitting trot is decent, but I struggle in the canter. It is subtle enough other people can't necessarily see it but I can tell from the horses I ride that I don't feel good to them somehow during the canter. I can tell that the lines of communication become worse during the canter...like fuzzy reception on the telephone.

                                I also struggle with hand/elbow position. My hands get too low and my elbows too far in front of me. It's like my comfort zone is set wrong and it is very hard to change it, especially because one learns to have a certain degree of effectiveness despite that flawed position, so when you try to change, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. That's mentally hard to accept, especially when you're trying to help your horse at the same time. You can learn to fix something on the lunge line when somebody else is in control, but then when you go back to actually try to use your body to achieve an effect again, some of the old issues creep back in. Because you have to learn not just to put your body in a different place, but to USE your body from that different place. That's so hard for me.

                                Those are my top few current issues!!


                                • #17
                                  contact + horse potential

                                  I have a middle aged TB mare. She is a former school horse.

                                  She is very light and athletic. She must be pushed forward in the canter or she will just about canter right in place.

                                  She will only except light contact. If the contact gets heavier she starts to resist by bringing her head up in the air and throwing it about. She does not go behind the bit.

                                  I have been told that she will always be like this due to her age and the fact that she has been ridden this way for so long.

                                  I have been told that she will never COLLECT.

                                  I have a great set of eyes on the ground.
                                  (teaches & trains for a different horse sport)
                                  We just don't see the same potential in this horse.

                                  My goal is a good score in Training level and then perhaps to go on to Level 1 - I don't think that this goal is unreachable.

                                  I need some tools to show this mare can do it.

                                  She has been out of work for a few months due to a hoof abscess. Would be a great time to bring her back to work, when she's ready, with some new "tools".


                                  • #18
                                    My biggest problem is lack of confidence in my ability.

                                    In order to accomplish anything with any real meaning and trust, I need to be able to ride my horse freely forward, in all the gaits, outside of fences, and not rely upon his mouth for speed control and feeling safe. And I just can't because I don't trust him, rather I don't trust my ability to stay on and pilot safely should he have an unsure or explosive moment. So I ride defensively and thats just, not good.

                                    I know this level of trust, and me letting go, is the final hump we need to clear for us to really be a team.

                                    Jane, I am an enormous fan. Thanks for starting this thread.
                                    Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                                    • #19
                                      Two issues:
                                      1. Fear-as a rerider, I battle my mind a lot.

                                      2. Timing of the aids: This how it usually goes in my brain:
                                      a. "Hmmm, something is wrong, what is it??"
                                      b. "ahhh...he's getting stiff and rushy and on the forehand"
                                      c. " what to do?"
                                      d. "half halt!!"
                                      and I half halt-three strides after everything has gone to h@!!.
                                      Does it ever become auomatic?


                                      • #20
                                        Great tip on the "ones"! Thanks so much.